PDA

View Full Version : "The War As We Saw It"


j-dawg
08-22-2007, 10:32 AM
A few weeks back the New York Times published an article by Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack about our potential chances of "stability" in Iraq. Many folks touted this article as "proof" that we were "winning" in Iraq. It even was discussed on this board.
http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?t=18294

So last week the New York Times published an article written by infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon to be heading back home.

In it they voiced their skepticism of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest they see every day.

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the ?battle space? remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers? expense.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/opinion/19jayamaha.html?_r=4&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

To suggest these views are null to the insights of Iraq is laughable. These guys would know the situation better than any reporter out there.

Cape Cod Steel Head
08-22-2007, 10:35 AM
I suggest if you want an insiders point of view( the ones who are doing the fighting and dying) watch The War Tapes.

j-dawg
08-22-2007, 10:43 AM
I've watched that... the military channel has solid programming. I don't understand your reference here though... unless it was to suggest that the writers of this article aren't insiders. They've been in Iraq for the past 15 months fighting and dying as well.

Cape Cod Steel Head
08-22-2007, 01:11 PM
No, just that that was a very well done project and would bring IMO a better sense of whats going on than a news article.

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-22-2007, 01:58 PM
Soldiers: Withdrawal From Iraq Would Be A Disaster

When the boots on the ground start talking like this we all need to listen.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SYKES, Iraq, —For the U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, the war is alternately violent and hopeful, sometimes very hot and sometimes very cold. It is dusty and muddy, calm and chaotic, deafeningly loud and eerily quiet.

The one thing the war is not, however, is finished, dozens of soldiers across the country said in interviews. And leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences, they said.

With a potentially historic U.S. midterm election on Tuesday and the war in Iraq a major issue at the polls, many soldiers said the United States should not abandon its effort here. Such a move, enlisted soldiers and officers said, would set Iraq on a path to civil war, give new life to the insurgency and create the possibility of a failed state after nearly four years of fighting to implant democracy. . . .

The soldiers declined to discuss the political jousting back home, but they expressed support for the Bush administration’s approach to the war, which they described as sticking with a tumultuous situation to give Iraq a chance to stand on its own.

Here’s what the troops themselves had to say.
***********************
Lt. Col. Mark Suich:

“Take us out of that vacuum—and it’s on the edge now—and boom, it would become a free-for-all,” said Lt. Col. Mark Suich, who commands the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment just south of Baghdad. “It would be a raw contention for power. That would be the bloodiest piece of this war.”

***********
Capt. Jim Modlin:

Capt. Jim Modlin, 26, of Oceanport, N.J., said he thought the situation in Iraq had improved between his deployment in 2003 and his return this year as a liaison officer to Iraqi security forces with the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, based here on FOB Sykes outside Tall Afar. Modlin described himself as more liberal than conservative and said he had already cast his absentee ballot in Texas. He said he believed that U.S. elected officials would lead the military in the right direction, regardless of what happens Tuesday.

“Pulling out now would be as bad or worse than going forward with no changes,” Modlin said. “Sectarian violence would be rampant, democracy would cease to exist, and the rule of law would be decimated. It’s not ‘stay the course,’ and it’s not ‘cut and run’ or other political catchphrases. There are people’s lives here. There are so many different dynamics that go on here that a simple solution just isn’t possible.”

*******************
Maj. General Benjamin Mixin:

“This is a worthwhile endeavor,” said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Multinational Division North and the 25th Infantry Division. “Nothing that is worthwhile is usually easy, and we need to give this more time for it to all come together. We all want to come home, but we have a significant investment here, and we need to give the Iraqi army and the Iraqi people a chance to succeed.”

********************
Capt. Mike Lingenfelter:

Capt. Mike Lingenfelter, 32, of Panhandle, Tex., said that U.S. troops have earned the trust of residents in Tall Afar over the past couple of years and that leaving now would send the wrong message. His Comanche Troop of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment is working with Iraqi forces to give them control of the city.

“We’ll pull their feet out from under them if we leave,” Lingenfelter said.

“It’s still fragile enough now that if the coalition were to leave, it would embolden the insurgents. A lot of people have put their trust and faith in us to see it to the end. It would be an extreme betrayal for us to leave.”

***********************
Sgt. Jonathan Kirkendall:

Sgt. Jonathan Kirkendall, 23, of Falls City, Neb., said he fears that many Americans think that building the country to viability will be “quick and easy,” when he believes it could take many years. Kirkendall, of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division in Baghdad, is on his third deployment to Iraq and celebrated his 21st and 23rd birthdays here.

“If they say leave in six months, we’ll leave in six months. If they say six years, it’s six years,” said Kirkendall, who is awaiting the birth of his first daughter, due next week.

“I’m just an average soldier, and I’ll do what they tell me to do. I’m proud to be a part of it, either way it goes, but I’d like to see it through.”
*************

A lot of critics of the war in Iraq go on and on about how it’s a failure and how we cannot achieve victory, yet I think the point many of those critics miss is that victory in Iraq is actually a very simple thing. All we have to do is leave the representative Iraqi government in a position to be able to defend itself so that Iraq does not fall back into the hands of extremists and terrorists.

Granted, that is probably going to take two or three more years, but it is an achievable goal. We can get there, we just need to give the mission time. These soldiers recognize that even as they’re laying their very lives on the line every day in Iraq. I wish more Americans got it as well.


So based on THESE statements....I guess the point of the New York Times article would be that if one looks hard enough...you can find soldiers who disagree with the war.

Now THAT'S some investigative reporting!!!!:thumbsup:

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-22-2007, 02:38 PM
I suggest if you want an insiders point of view( the ones who are doing the fighting and dying) watch The War Tapes.


I would suggest if you want an accurate insiders point of view ... you should consider that this article is based on the liberal leanings of only 7 soldiers from 82nd...made up of the following Battallions, Brigades and Teams:

Makeup of the 82nd Airborne Division Units:

Division Special Troops Battalion
1st Brigade Combat Team
1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment
3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
307th Brigade Support Battalion
1st BCT Special Troops Battalion

2nd Brigade Combat Team
1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
2nd Battalion, 325 Airborne Infantry Regiment
1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment
2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
407th Brigade Support Battalion
2nd BCT Special Troops Battalion

3rd Brigade Combat Team
1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment
1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
82nd Brigade Support Battalion
3rd BCT Special Troops Battalion

4th Brigade Combat Team
1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Former 3-504)
2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Former 3-325)
4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment
2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
782nd Brigade Support Battalion
4th BCT Special Troops Battalion

Combat Aviation Brigade
1st Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment (Attack Reconnaissance) AH-64D Apache Longbow
2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment (Assault) UH-60L Black Hawk
3rd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation)
1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment (Attack Reconnaissance)
122nd Aviation Support Battalion

82nd Sustainment Brigade
Sustainment Brigade Special Troops Battalion

82nd Division Special Troops Battalion
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Airborne Division
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Division Special Troops Battalion
Alpha Company (Signal Company)
82nd Airborne Division Band
82nd Airborne Division Advanced Airborne School

(I for one would be happy to let the soldiers in the field decide if we should stay in Iraq....I doubt if the left-wingers would be willing to do the same..which sorta makes the whole New York Times article a moot-point doesnt it?)

revefsreleets
08-22-2007, 05:39 PM
Following is a very interesting and enlightening article that shows exactly how delicate the situation is both for our military and the Iraqi's they support.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/world/middleeast/19falluja.html?n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics% 2fPeople%2fO%2fOppel%2c%20Richard%20A%2e%20Jr%2e&_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print


By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.

FALLUJA, Iraq — Falluja’s police chief, Col. Faisal Ismail Hussein, waved aloft a picture of a severed head in a bucket as a reminder of the brutality of the fundamentalist Sunni militias that once controlled this city. But he also described an uncertain future without “my only supporters,” the United States Marine Corps.

Nearly three years after invading and seizing Falluja from insurgents, the Marines are engaged in another struggle here: trying to build up a city, and police force, that seem to get little help from the Shiite-dominated national government.

Fallujans complain that they are starved of generator fuel and medical care because of a citywide vehicle ban imposed by the mayor, a Sunni, in May. But in recent months violence has fallen sharply, a byproduct of the vehicle ban, the wider revolt by Sunni Arab tribes against militants and a new strategy by the Marines to divide Falluja into 10 tightly controlled precincts, each walled off by concrete barriers and guarded by a new armed Sunni force.

Security has improved enough that they are planning to largely withdraw from the city by next spring. But their plan hinges on the performance of the Iraqi government, which has failed to provide the Falluja police with even the most routine supplies, Marine officers say.

The gains in Falluja, neighboring Ramadi and other areas in Anbar Province, once the most violent area in Iraq and the heart of the Sunni Arab insurgency, are often cited as a success story, a possible model for the rest of Iraq. But interviews with marines and Iraqi officials in Falluja suggest that the recent relative calm here is fragile and that the same sectarian rivalries that have divided the Iraqi government could undermine security as soon as the Marines leave.

Rank-and-file marines question how security forces here would fare on their own, especially when the vehicle ban is lifted.

If Falluja were left unsupervised too soon, “there is a good chance we would lose everything we have gained,” said Sgt. Chris Turpin, an intelligence analyst with a military training team here.

Marine commanders emphasize there is no hard-and-fast date for leaving the city. “A lot of people say that without the Americans it’s all going to collapse,” said Col. Richard Sim****, the commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team Six in eastern Anbar. “I’m not that negative. I’ve seen too much success here to believe that.”

Most of the fuel, ammunition and vehicle maintenance for the Falluja police is still supplied by the American military, said Maj. Todd Sermarini, the marine in charge of police training here.

Some police officers have been forced to buy gasoline from black-market roadside vendors. “Ammunition is a big problem, weapons are a problem, and wages are a problem,” said Capt. Al Cheng, 34, a company commander working with the police here.

Many Sunni leaders here contend that the Shiite-dominated government is neglecting them for sectarian reasons, and the bad feelings at times boil over into angry accusations. In interviews conducted in early August, some said that factions in the Interior Ministry were taking orders from Iran, or that the government was withholding money and support because it did not want to build up Sunni security forces that it could end up fighting after an eventual American withdrawal from Iraq.

Iraqi officials in Baghdad deny shortchanging Falluja, saying they have authorized more than enough police forces for Anbar. “We’d like to support them, but that does not mean we can respond to their requests or demands,” said Sadiq al-Rikabi, political adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. He said the government had problems supplying the police throughout Iraq.

The Marines operate as a “shock absorber” between the locals and the central government, said Brig. Gen. John Allen, the deputy Marine commander in Anbar Province. The animosity toward Baghdad among the Sunnis here “worries me, but I don’t despair of it,” he said, adding that he thought the government’s lack of support was more a result of bureaucratic inefficiency than sectarian hostility. “The challenge for us is to connect the province to the central government.”

But first, marines in Falluja have to connect residents with their own police force. On a recent weekend, that involved establishing a joint American-Iraqi security outpost in Andalus, one of the city’s worst neighborhoods, where the pockmarked buildings still bear the scars of the 2004 American assault.

In just 24 hours, marines cut enough electrical cable and plywood to turn a shell of a building into a functioning outpost, one of the 10 they are building, one for each precinct, and to wall off the precinct behind concrete barriers, leaving only a few ways in or out.

The next step was to recruit an auxiliary force to help the police. After careful screening, they hired 200 Iraqis to serve in a neighborhood watch for the precinct, part of an effort to bolster the undersized force of slightly more than 1,000 police officers for the city and surrounding area. The members of the new force are paid $50 a month by the Marines to stand guard — mostly at checkpoints at the entrances to the neighborhood — with weapons they bring from home, typically AK-47s.

Seven of the city’s 10 precincts have now gotten the same treatment as Andalus. The idea behind the outposts was to roust the Iraqi police from their central headquarters, which they seldom left, and get them into the neighborhood outposts.

The new plan makes it easier for marines to act as mentors for the policemen, whose heavy-handed tactics remain a concern. The police need to learn not to arrest “a hundred people” for a single crime, Colonel Sim**** said. “What’s going to stop Al Qaeda is not having 99 people angry at the police because they were wrongfully arrested,” he said.

revefsreleets
08-22-2007, 05:39 PM
con't

Despite the marines’ best efforts to screen recruits, Captain Cheng said, “it wouldn’t surprise me that a lot of the guys we used to fight are in the neighborhood watch.” But he says the new force has already made a difference, turning in active insurgents and guarding precincts that have only 10 or 20 police officers on patrol at any one time.

Captain Cheng says the plan to turn Falluja’s security over to the police is on track, but he points out how much the marines still do. “We are the ones emplacing the barriers, we are the ones hiring the neighborhood watch,” he said. “We are the ones establishing the conditions for them to succeed.”

Violence has dropped sharply in the city, where no marines have been killed or wounded since mid-May. But deadly skirmishes have been common around the nearby village of Karma and in remote areas north of Falluja.

Twenty-five service members have been killed in Anbar Province since the beginning of July, according to Icasualties.org, making it by far the deadliest province after Baghdad.

The struggle to supply the police overshadows another important element in the American military’s gains in Anbar: contracts awarded to Sunni tribal allies in rural areas.

The tribes have relatively little influence in Falluja but dominate elsewhere in the province. Their decision to ally with the Marines helped stabilize the entire region, and men from tribes now serve in provincial security forces to help keep insurgents at bay.

One Marine civil affairs officer estimates that a quarter of the $10 million his unit has committed to spending around Falluja since March has gone to the Abu Issa tribe, which is centered west of Falluja. The Jumaili, a tribe near Karma, has received $1 million, the officer said. The contracts are typically for water treatment plants, refurbishing clinics and similar projects.

“The politics here are very much governed by greed, and this is the real alliance in Anbar,” said an American reconstruction official here who worries the contracts are only a temporary glue with the tribes and who was not authorized to speak publicly. If the Iraqi government provided more, “everything would be much more sustainable.”

The last security outpost is set to be finished in September, followed by four new police stations scattered throughout the city. If all goes as planned, the marines should begin leaving the city early next year, said Lt. Col. Bill Mullen, who commands the Second Battalion, Sixth Marines, the unit that patrols Falluja.

In effect, the Marines are predicting they can leave Falluja on the same timeline many in Congress want to see troops pulled back to larger bases or leaving altogether. Troops who would have patrolled Falluja would deploy into outlying areas by April, but close enough to reinforce the city in a crisis, Colonel Mullen said. Small police training and liaison teams would also remain.

“Everything we are doing is oriented toward our ability to leave,” he said, adding that the most likely obstacle to leaving by April would be the continued failure of the Interior Ministry to supply the police. “You can’t help hearing stuff going on back in the United States, and Congress reaching for the chain to pull the plug out of the bathtub. The smart money says there is finite time.”

The Iraqi Army has already been pulling out of Falluja. The last battalion is scheduled to leave in September. Though the marines here say the Iraqi soldiers were a good unit, there has been tension between the police and the soldiers, who one marine commander said were 90 percent Shiite. Marines say guns-drawn confrontations have occurred, though none recently.

The tensions briefly boiled over on a recent joint patrol through Andalus, when the police accused Iraqi soldiers of stealing blankets from large bags of supplies being handed to residents from the back of trucks.

As people from the neighborhood looked on, the soldiers accused the police of being “moles” and “spies” for insurgents, and the Iraqi Army commander shouted and shook his finger in the faces of policemen. The police shouted back, accusing the soldiers of serving as Iranian agents. Afterward, the police and army commanders calmed down their troops and shook hands.

If the Iraqi government provided a large and steady supply of men, weapons, vehicles and equipment, the police could secure the city, said Colonel Hussein, the Falluja police chief. But he complained of little support from the government except for salaries, which he doubted would be paid if the Americans were not here. He said he also needed four times more policemen. “Without the role of the Marines, I’ll fail,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, a senior Interior Ministry spokesman, called Colonel Hussein’s comments “unprofessional.” In an interview, he said if the Falluja police had an equipment shortage then they failed to request enough gear earlier.

He added that if Colonel Hussein is so fond of the Marines, perhaps he should apply for American citizenship.

Wisam A. Habeeb and Abdul Razzaq al-Saiedi contributed reporting from Baghdad.

j-dawg
08-22-2007, 06:43 PM
I would suggest if you want an accurate insiders point of view ... you should consider that this article is based on the liberal leanings of only 7 soldiers from 82nd...made up of the following Battallions, Brigades and Teams:


(I for one would be happy to let the soldiers in the field decide if we should stay in Iraq....I doubt if the left-wingers would be willing to do the same..which sorta makes the whole New York Times article a moot-point doesnt it?)

sure... because these soldiers express their concerns about the importance of a political solution they're "liberals".... you bet, and there's only SEVEN of 'em... shessh...

as for the entire 82nd voting on the mission... they do, they vote for the politicians in our government... might have something to do with the democrats taking congress... but such a point is moot anyway, cause we both know the military would never allow the troops to vote on weather or not they should stay in Iraq.

revefsreleets
08-22-2007, 07:40 PM
This situation has moved way beyond partisan politics. What's done is done, and we are there. There are two alternatives. Leave and watch it rot, or stay and continue on. I think if we leave then every single American life was wasted, and I don't toss the word "wasted" out there willy-nilly like Barack Obama did, I mean it in it's truest sense. We will have thrown away our young soldiers lives for next to nothing. I think even most of them sense that now.

The UN is going to get involved, which I think is necessary, even though I'm not a huge fan. What it does is admit a truly neutral player onto the field. I think we will see some real changes in Iraq over the next few months.

Atlanta Dan
08-22-2007, 08:34 PM
I would suggest if you want an accurate insiders point of view ... you should consider that this article is based on the liberal leanings of only 7 soldiers from 82nd...

(I for one would be happy to let the soldiers in the field decide if we should stay in Iraq....I doubt if the left-wingers would be willing to do the same..which sorta makes the whole New York Times article a moot-point doesnt it?)

So if you are against the war as it has been fought you are a "liberal"? I missed the parts of the article where the soldiers gave their opinions on universal health care and repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Trying to fit everyone who is for the Iraq deployment as being on the "right" or "conservative" while everyone who questions the deployment as being on the "left" or as "liberal" is pretty meaningless. George Will and Robert Novak are nobody's definition of "liberals".

I agree that you can certainly find many articulate current and former members of the uniformed military who support the effort and others who do not. I dare say the soldiers in the NYT Op-Ed have a lot more credibility than what we heard from Rumsfeld, Cheney, Tenet & others over the last 5 years.

But of course given that pesky civilian control of the military under the Constitution, it is not the uniformed military's call whether the U.S. stays or goes - going to war is a political decision (see, e.g., Clausewitz) and it is a lot more than "left wingers" in this country who think we should cut our losses on this one.

Is the U.S.military the finest fighting force in the world today? - absolutely

Does that mean it can indefinitely hang around Iraq to referee a civil war while the "government" of Iraq is collapsing -probably not.

But hope springs eternal for some that this is all just a PR issue - the latest bright idea that support for the war is going to be turned around by an ad campaign would be laughable if the subject was not so tragic.

revefsreleets
08-22-2007, 09:12 PM
There needs to be some clarification here. Remember the whole "Mission Accomplished" thing? That was never the joke the Democrats and the pundits made it out to be, instead it was supposed to be the "all clear" sign for the allies that were sitting on the fence and the UN to step in. But things were too messed up, and, ultimately, the Bush administration is to blame, but there were a thousand factors that figured in. Regardless, what was supposed to occur way back then is just about to occur now. When the UN steps in and the Arab nations around Iraq start sending in their UN reps, the insurgency should chill a bit, despite their religious affiliation.

I'm anxious to see how things go in the next few months.

Atlanta Dan
08-22-2007, 09:40 PM
Remember the whole "Mission Accomplished" thing? That was never the joke the Democrats and the pundits made it out to be, instead it was supposed to be the "all clear" sign for the allies that were sitting on the fence and the UN to step in.

Would sincerely be interested in your source for that one.

Bush used the same phrase in this speech, in June 2005 (after the banner was displayed on the Abraham Lincoln):

Posted 6/5/2003 3:31 AM Updated 6/5/2003 8:10 PM
Bush to troops: Mission accomplished
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY

DOHA, Qatar ? President Bush ended his trip to Europe and the Middle East on Thursday reveling in the approving roar of troops at Camp As Sayliyah....

Linking victory in Iraq with the broader war on terrorism, Bush harked back to his visit to Ground Zero days after Sept. 11. When a rescue worker shouted at him then, "We can't hear you," Bush replied, "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

In his remarks here, Bush asked, "I have a question for you: Can you hear me now?" His audience erupted.

"America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished," he said. Despite growing doubts at home and abroad, he reiterated that troops would find weapons of mass destruction, which were his rationale for striking first at Iraq.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-06-05-bush-qatar_x.htm

Later, after that opinion appeared a bit, ummm, premature, we had this story:

White House pressed on 'mission accomplished' sign
Navy suggested it, White House made it, both sides say

From Dana Bash
CNN Washington Bureau
Wednesday, October 29, 2003 Posted: 9:18 AM EST (1418 GMT)

Attention turned Tuesday to a giant "Mission Accomplished" sign that stood behind Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln when he gave the speech May 1.

The president told reporters the sign was put up by the Navy, not the White House.

"I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way," the president said Tuesday.

Now his statements are being parsed even further.

Navy and administration sources said that though the banner was the Navy's idea, the White House actually made it.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/28/mission.accomplished/

So the Navy decided to send an "all clear" signal to the U.N. and the White House decided to help the Navy out by printing up the banner by which to send the signal?:smile:

j-dawg
08-22-2007, 09:44 PM
The UN was in Iraq... it pulled out in 2003 when it's chief envoy and 16 others were killed by an insurgents truck bomb. I don't know if sending them in is going to change anything, but i'm with you reves, i hope it does. Has anyone seen this video of Cheney talking about Iraq in 1994?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YENbElb5-xY

"Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it -- eastern Iraq -- the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq."

None of this was being said when there was the build up to invading Iraq not nine years later... 9-11 didn't change the fact that the region would be just as volatile.

Here's a quote from Bill Kristol talking about Iraq on 4/1/03:
"There is a certain amount of pop psychology in America that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni... there's almost no evidence of that at all."

All I'm saying is that the discussions about Iraq are not promoting advancement. It's obvious that there wasn't a clear contingency plan, and that many were wrong about that region. A political solution should be on the forefront of any plan involving Iraq now.

revefsreleets
08-22-2007, 09:49 PM
My "source"? My source is the entire policy of the Bush administration at the time, which is in complete agreement with your above quotes. There was bad intel, and Bush thought that the Arab allies and the UN would step in and help stabilize Iraq as soon as "the coast was clear". Mission Accomplished was supposed to be the smoke signal to the rest of the World that it was okay to come onboard. In fact, things were so out of whack that the CIA suggested that FRANCE would send troops.

It took longer than anyone would want or hope, but we approaching that time now.

revefsreleets
08-22-2007, 09:52 PM
I must reiterate this again. The intel out of Iraq was as bad as any Intel the US government has used for military operations since the Civil War. It messed up even the Democratic Party.

Atlanta Dan
08-22-2007, 10:07 PM
My "source"? My source is the entire policy of the Bush administration at the time, which is in complete agreement with your above quotes. There was bad intel, and Bush thought that the Arab allies and the UN would step in and help stabilize Iraq as soon as "the coast was clear". Mission Accomplished was supposed to be the smoke signal to the rest of the World that it was okay to come onboard. In fact, things were so out of whack that the CIA suggested that FRANCE would send troops.

It took longer than anyone would want or hope, but we approaching that time now.

OK - I have heard so much nonsense out of the Bush Administration for the last 5 years about Iraq I thought someone had actually gone on the record and attempted to sell that spin to explain away the Mission Accomplished banner. Glad to hear that the coast is almost clear.

As for the CIA, if it is any consolation to W supporters,The Company has been providing bad intel to Presidents for almost 6 decades. I have just finished reading "Legacy of Ashes", a history of the CIA by Tim Weiner, in which, among other subjects, the sainted Kennedys are portrayed as being as obsessed with getting rid of Castro as W & Cheney were in taking out Sadaam and equally insensitive to the tiresome constraints of the law in seeking their goal.

revefsreleets
08-22-2007, 10:18 PM
OK - I have heard so much nonsense out of the Bush Administration for the last 5 years about Iraq I thought someone had actually gone on the record and attempted to sell that spin to explain away the Mission Accomplished banner. Glad to hear that the coast is almost clear.

As for the CIA, if it is any consolation to W supporters,The Company has been providing bad intel to Presidents for almost 6 decades. I have just finished reading "Legacy of Ashes", a history of the CIA by Tim Weiner, in which, among other subjects, the sainted Kennedys are portrayed as being as obsessed with getting rid of Castro as W & Cheney were in taking out Sadaam and equally insensitive to the tiresome constraints of the law in seeking their goal.

But the blind squirrel (CIA) found a nut in Afghanistan, and that was big nut. Russia was crushed against it over 20 years, and we pacified the Country in a few months. Rumy became drunk on that power and he ****ed everything up. He ignored every bit of good ground intel we had, and misled Bush as well, but if you want to believe that it was some kind of evil plan, go ahead. I pretty much give up trying to use logic with either side of the aisle at this point.

Atlanta Dan
08-22-2007, 10:37 PM
But the blind squirrel (CIA) found a nut in Afghanistan, and that was big nut. Russia was crushed against it over 20 years, and we pacified the Country in a few months. Rumy became drunk on that power and he ****ed everything up. He ignored every bit of good ground intel we had, and misled Bush as well, but if you want to believe that it was some kind of evil plan, go ahead. I pretty much give up trying to use logic with either side of the aisle at this point.

I asked you for your source on the "coast is clear" theory for the banner and you admitted it was just your own theory.

As for the coast being almost clear, what is your basis for that?

On Thursday, the administration is planning to make public parts of a sober new report by American intelligence agencies expressing deep doubts that the Maliki government can overcome sectarian differences. Government officials who have seen the report say it gives a bleak outlook on the chances Mr. Maliki can meet milestones intended to promote unity in Iraq.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/23/washington/23policy.html?hp

And what "good ground intel" did Rummy fail to provide to W on Iraq?

In closing, thanks for trying to portray anyone who disagrees with you on "either side of the aisle" as not being worthy of a logical response.

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-23-2007, 05:05 AM
So if you are against the war as it has been fought you are a "liberal"? I missed the parts of the article where the soldiers gave their opinions on universal health care and repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Trying to fit everyone who is for the Iraq deployment as being on the "right" or "conservative" while everyone who questions the deployment as being on the "left" or as "liberal" is pretty meaningless. George Will and Robert Novak are nobody's definition of "liberals".

I agree that you can certainly find many articulate current and former members of the uniformed military who support the effort and others who do not. I dare say the soldiers in the NYT Op-Ed have a lot more credibility than what we heard from Rumsfeld, Cheney, Tenet & others over the last 5 years.

But of course given that pesky civilian control of the military under the Constitution, it is not the uniformed military's call whether the U.S. stays or goes - going to war is a political decision (see, e.g., Clausewitz) and it is a lot more than "left wingers" in this country who think we should cut our losses on this one.

Is the U.S.military the finest fighting force in the world today? - absolutely

Does that mean it can indefinitely hang around Iraq to referee a civil war while the "government" of Iraq is collapsing -probably not.

But hope springs eternal for some that this is all just a PR issue - the latest bright idea that support for the war is going to be turned around by an ad campaign would be laughable if the subject was not so tragic.

I think you missed the point.

Originally the New York Times article was posted as "proof" that even our soldiers disagree with the current assessment of where we stand in Iraq.
My point was ....#1) You dig deep enough, you will find those who agree with the "predominatly" liberal viewpoint that we should not be in Iraq...#2) This viewpoint is not the general opinion of our armed forces...AND if one is going to use the opinions of 7 soldiers as proof..they may want to consider the opinions of the armed forces as a whole.

I do agree with you that this war has moved from being about right/wrong and is now about political leverage and now all media information is filtered through a right or left wing filter. I also agree with you that the end result will be tragic. We just have to make a moral decision as to who should be put into harms way...Our professional well-equipped soldiers or a civilian populace that will either die... unarmed ...in a religious civil war, or live nightmare after nightmare every day because of our unwillingness to see this through

Dont get me wrong....I am increasingly frustrated by the lack of help from other countries and the obvious sluggish development of the Iraqi government....but as I have stated in other threads....Every "little" quality of life increase in the lives of the Iraqi people... seems, to them, to be sooooo much more than they have ever had and there is not an "end goal"...a concrete understanding of what democracy looks like.....And this is counter-productive to energizing the populace into throwing themselves into their own development.

In my opinion why do we need to see this through?:

10 IMPROVEMENTS IN THE LIVES OF IRAQI CHILDREN

1) A "back to school" campaign delivered 1,500 kits with book bags, notebooks, pens and pencils that helped 120,000 students in Baghdad return to their classrooms in May 2003. In preparation for the new school year, 1.2 million kits for secondary school students and 4,000 kits for their schools including desks, chairs, blackboards, and bookshelves are arriving in Iraq.
2) Malnutrition contributed to high mortality rates in Iraq during Saddam's rule. The food aid for Iraq has continued to supply the public distribution system and has allowed the majority of Iraqis access to food rations. On July 15, the World Food Program reported that nearly 1.5 million metric tons of food, or more than the three months supply required to keep the distribution system operating, have been dispatched to Iraq. An additional 2.2 million metric tons of food will arrive by the end of October. These steps will contribute to reversing malnutrition.

3) To date, 22.3 million doses of measles, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and polio vaccines have been provided, enough to vaccinate 4.2 million children.

4) Nearly all Iraqi children have finished their exams from last year and are ready to start a new school year in the fall. All universities are reopened.

5) A $53 million program to rehabilitate more than 100 schools and clinics is underway. In the southern region, more than 50 schools are in various stages of rehabilitation. More than 600 schools will be in "like new" condition in time for the beginning of classes.

6) Five million revised math and science textbooks were ready before the start of the school year.

7) Saddam Hussein's rhetoric is being removed from Iraqi schoolchildren's textbooks. In the words of Dunia Nabel, a teacher in Baghdad: "We want flowers and springtime in the texts, not rifles and tanks." (The Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003).

8) Ten delivery rooms in hospitals and primary healthcare centers in Basra have been rehabilitated and stocked with essential drugs and medical supplies.

9) The juvenile institution for children that was the subject of reports of abuse and appalling conditions under Saddam Hussein has been replaced by a project run by UNICEF and NGOs. Seven orphanages have undergone major building renovations and training for staff.

10) Nearly 3,000 soccer balls were shipped on May 30 and another 60,000 balls on their way to Iraq through a private/public partnership and the U.S. soccer community...Kids who previously were focused on basic survival now have community leagues and after school programs.

Atlanta Dan
08-23-2007, 08:09 AM
I think you missed the point.

Originally the New York Times article was posted as "proof" that even our soldiers disagree with the current assessment of where we stand in Iraq.
My point was ....#1) You dig deep enough, you will find those who agree with the "predominatly" liberal viewpoint that we should not be in Iraq...#2) This viewpoint is not the general opinion of our armed forces...AND if one is going to use the opinions of 7 soldiers as proof..they may want to consider the opinions of the armed forces as a whole.

I do agree with you that this war has moved from being about right/wrong and is now about political leverage and now all media information is filtered through a right or left wing filter. I also agree with you that the end result will be tragic. We just have to make a moral decision as to who should be put into harms way...Our professional well-equipped soldiers or a civilian populace that will either die... unarmed ...in a religious civil war, or live nightmare after nightmare every day because of our unwillingness to see this through

Dont get me wrong....I am increasingly frustrated by the lack of help from other countries and the obvious sluggish development of the Iraqi government....but as I have stated in other threads....Every "little" quality of life increase in the lives of the Iraqi people... seems, to them, to be sooooo much more than they have ever had and there is not an "end goal"...a concrete understanding of what democracy looks like.....And this is counter-productive to energizing the populace into throwing themselves into their own development.

In my opinion why do we need to see this through?:

10 IMPROVEMENTS IN THE LIVES OF IRAQI CHILDREN

10) Nearly 3,000 soccer balls were shipped on May 30 and another 60,000 balls on their way to Iraq through a private/public partnership and the U.S. soccer community...Kids who previously were focused on basic survival now have community leagues and after school programs.

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

I know you want to point out progress, but did we really go into Iraq so kids could play soccer?
I am not claiming raising the quality of life in Iraq is not a noble effort, but episodic illustrations of social welfare achievements are not exactly what most individuals regarded as the goals to be achieved by going to war, including the incumbent President who stated during the 2000 campaign that "nation building" shoudl not be the task of U.S. foreign policy.

The basis for the war (based on various theories that have not played out as well as the Administration hoped) was that Sadaam presented a strategic threat to the vital interests of the United States, not that his government needed to go because it did not promote democracy and the Iraqis quality of life needed to be raised - if that is the metric for going to war there are lots of future adversaries to take out, starting with our partners in freedom the Saudis.

"Seeing this through" is something everyone can wish for at the right price, but exactly how open ended is the commitment (we were in Germany for 40 yeas after WWII, with allies) and what is the measurement of when the mission will be accomplished? That target keeps getting redefined - if you doubt me on that match up what was supposed to constitute success for the surge last spring and what will be defined as success in September. At some point the benefits have to be balanced with the costs.

j-dawg
08-23-2007, 10:41 AM
I think you missed the point.

Originally the New York Times article was posted as "proof" that even our soldiers disagree with the current assessment of where we stand in Iraq.
My point was ....#1) You dig deep enough, you will find those who agree with the "predominatly" liberal viewpoint that we should not be in Iraq...#2) This viewpoint is not the general opinion of our armed forces...AND if one is going to use the opinions of 7 soldiers as proof..they may want to consider the opinions of the armed forces as a whole.

I do agree with you that this war has moved from being about right/wrong and is now about political leverage and now all media information is filtered through a right or left wing filter. I also agree with you that the end result will be tragic. We just have to make a moral decision as to who should be put into harms way...Our professional well-equipped soldiers or a civilian populace that will either die... unarmed ...in a religious civil war, or live nightmare after nightmare every day because of our unwillingness to see this through

Dont get me wrong....I am increasingly frustrated by the lack of help from other countries and the obvious sluggish development of the Iraqi government....but as I have stated in other threads....Every "little" quality of life increase in the lives of the Iraqi people... seems, to them, to be sooooo much more than they have ever had and there is not an "end goal"...a concrete understanding of what democracy looks like.....And this is counter-productive to energizing the populace into throwing themselves into their own development.

In my opinion why do we need to see this through?:



this article was not published as "proof" of anything. it's just an op ed article where seven soldiers voice their opinions on the situation in iraq. much like the the op ed article by pollack/o?hanlon voicing their opinion that the war in iraq can be won. their opinions, nothing more, but many folk take it on as fact for some reason.

lamberts, is it your opinion that the majority of folks in the military support the policies in iraq? because, that is not a fact, it's an opinion. just like the two ny times op ed articles. there's no way to actually confirm or deny that opinion. as i stated earlier, the military would never allow the soldiers to vote on such matters.

the point i'm trying to make is this, two reporters, being escorted by the military, following itinerary the D.O.D. developed, are by no way as educated on the situation in iraq as seven soldiers fighting and dying in iraq. that's my opinion. i agree with some points on the escorted reporters article, but find the soldiers article much more comprehensive on the issues that need to be addressed and not simply thrown aside as "liberal" hogwash.

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-24-2007, 05:01 AM
this article was not published as "proof" of anything. it's just an op ed article where seven soldiers voice their opinions on the situation in iraq. much like the the op ed article by pollack/o’hanlon voicing their opinion that the war in iraq can be won. their opinions, nothing more, but many folk take it on as fact for some reason.

lamberts, is it your opinion that the majority of folks in the military support the policies in iraq? because, that is not a fact, it's an opinion. just like the two ny times op ed articles. there's no way to actually confirm or deny that opinion. as i stated earlier, the military would never allow the soldiers to vote on such matters.

the point i'm trying to make is this, two reporters, being escorted by the military, following itinerary the D.O.D. developed, are by no way as educated on the situation in iraq as seven soldiers fighting and dying in iraq. that's my opinion. i agree with some points on the escorted reporters article, but find the soldiers article much more comprehensive on the issues that need to be addressed and not simply thrown aside as "liberal" hogwash.

I have to admit ..once I see "New York Times"...I automatically go into "spin" mode and have to ask how much of this op-ed was self initiated. The Times has a history of propping up "icons" of liberal causes.
What I have been told from a rather large group of friends that are still in the Iraqi theater ..or still in the service is that the VAST majority of our armed services members believe that there is a very strong outright attempt to downplay the improvements in Irag for "political" purposes. That is not my opinion but what I am being told from those who are serving.
Please take into consideration that I still bleed green from my years in service and I hope that I have some idea as to the mindset of our soldiers. Some of my closest friends in the world are still in the Army...and it would kill me to tell anyone in this forum a personal opinion based on my belifs alone or to purposfully give out ANYTHING other than what those friends believe to be true.

revefsreleets
08-25-2007, 02:40 PM
I asked you for your source on the "coast is clear" theory for the banner and you admitted it was just your own theory.

As for the coast being almost clear, what is your basis for that?

On Thursday, the administration is planning to make public parts of a sober new report by American intelligence agencies expressing deep doubts that the Maliki government can overcome sectarian differences. Government officials who have seen the report say it gives a bleak outlook on the chances Mr. Maliki can meet milestones intended to promote unity in Iraq.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/23/washington/23policy.html?hp

And what "good ground intel" did Rummy fail to provide to W on Iraq?

In closing, thanks for trying to portray anyone who disagrees with you on "either side of the aisle" as not being worthy of a logical response.

A) It's not my theory. It's pretty widely recognized, and I've seen pretty much the same thing asserted in a bunch of articles and books I've read, with variations. The problem is that these are articles you find in magazines like "The Economist" or on breitbart.com, or in the book "Cobra II" that I read, and not in mainstream media (and I don't mean liberal or conservative, I mean ANY mainstream media outlets.) This stuff isn't sound bytes and 2 minutes politico cliffs notes. I understand that you want quotable quotes, but this doesn't work that way, and sometimes one must synthesize a bit of their own knowledge.
B) When I state that the coast is almost clear, I'm optimistically hoping that UN participation makes a difference. I don't care much for the UN, but they are still viewed as a stabilizing and fairly neutral force. Some UN troops sends a strong message to all but the most radical extremists that the World is getting involved.
C) There was great ground intel in Afghanistan. In fact, it was astoundingly good. That was ultimately why we were so successful. The problem became that the Bush Admin, almost exclusively under the auspices of Rumy, took everything the CIA said about Iraq at face value because of the success we had in Afghan. Problem was, we had no good assets in Iraq, and 25 year old assets in Afghan. The administration took the bad advice that we would be greeted as liberators, and failed to plan for any kind of alternate contingency. There WAS NO good ground intel in Iraq, but the CIA thought differently, and Rumy (i.e. the entire administration) bought into it to the detriment of all.
D) As for your last little comment, sorry, but you haven't done your homework. I'm criticizing BOTH sides of the aisle and you are still hung up buying into party spin. I'm past the whole GOP v. Democrat crap and want to talk about what really happened, is happening, and will happen. A great example? I read "State of Denial" and thought it was a great and insightful book, but it was pretty much straight reporting, and therefore didn't ever get into the "why?" of what was happening. So when I see the same ole "Bush sucks and is stupid" stuff, I can't get all that interested.

Atlanta Dan
08-25-2007, 06:22 PM
A) It's not my theory. It's pretty widely recognized, and I've seen pretty much the same thing asserted in a bunch of articles and books I've read, with variations. The problem is that these are articles you find in magazines like "The Economist" or on breitbart.com, or in the book "Cobra II" that I read, and not in mainstream media (and I don't mean liberal or conservative, I mean ANY mainstream media outlets.) This stuff isn't sound bytes and 2 minutes politico cliffs notes. I understand that you want quotable quotes, but this doesn't work that way, and sometimes one must synthesize a bit of their own knowledge.
B) When I state that the coast is almost clear, I'm optimistically hoping that UN participation makes a difference. I don't care much for the UN, but they are still viewed as a stabilizing and fairly neutral force. Some UN troops sends a strong message to all but the most radical extremists that the World is getting involved.
C) There was great ground intel in Afghanistan. In fact, it was astoundingly good. That was ultimately why we were so successful. The problem became that the Bush Admin, almost exclusively under the auspices of Rumy, took everything the CIA said about Iraq at face value because of the success we had in Afghan. Problem was, we had no good assets in Iraq, and 25 year old assets in Afghan. The administration took the bad advice that we would be greeted as liberators, and failed to plan for any kind of alternate contingency. There WAS NO good ground intel in Iraq, but the CIA thought differently, and Rumy (i.e. the entire administration) bought into it to the detriment of all.
D) As for your last little comment, sorry, but you haven't done your homework. I'm criticizing BOTH sides of the aisle and you are still hung up buying into party spin. I'm past the whole GOP v. Democrat crap and want to talk about what really happened, is happening, and will happen. A great example? I read "State of Denial" and thought it was a great and insightful book, but it was pretty much straight reporting, and therefore didn't ever get into the "why?" of what was happening. So when I see the same ole "Bush sucks and is stupid" stuff, I can't get all that interested.

Thanks for more gratuitous shots about me not doing my homework and your ability to conclude that I am not nearly as well read as you on the subject of Iraq given our vast knowledge of each other from exchanging posts on a Steelers message board.

I gave you links to how "Mission Accomplished" was reported (as well as how the phrase was being used by W after the photo op on the Abraham Lincoln) and then linked to the summary of the National Intelligence Estimate (not written by a nest of Bush bashers ) to support my position that any conclusion the "coast is almost clear" is pretty much an outlier when it comes to current views on the situation in Iraq. I usually make a point of providing links to reputable sources I when assert a position rather than just request other posters to trust my powers of insight while contending anyone who disagrees with me is both illogical and not worthy of my interest..

If you have any links to support your "widely recognized" position that "Mission Accomplished" was actually intended to mean the coast is almost clear or that it currently is almost clear (other than Bill Kristol and The Weekly Standard) please provide them. If it is so recognized then presumably someone other than you has articulated your position.

Stlrs4Life
08-25-2007, 10:14 PM
So if you are against the war as it has been fought you are a "liberal"? I missed the parts of the article where the soldiers gave their opinions on universal health care and repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Trying to fit everyone who is for the Iraq deployment as being on the "right" or "conservative" while everyone who questions the deployment as being on the "left" or as "liberal" is pretty meaningless. George Will and Robert Novak are nobody's definition of "liberals".

I agree that you can certainly find many articulate current and former members of the uniformed military who support the effort and others who do not. I dare say the soldiers in the NYT Op-Ed have a lot more credibility than what we heard from Rumsfeld, Cheney, Tenet & others over the last 5 years.

But of course given that pesky civilian control of the military under the Constitution, it is not the uniformed military's call whether the U.S. stays or goes - going to war is a political decision (see, e.g., Clausewitz) and it is a lot more than "left wingers" in this country who think we should cut our losses on this one.

Is the U.S.military the finest fighting force in the world today? - absolutely

Does that mean it can indefinitely hang around Iraq to referee a civil war while the "government" of Iraq is collapsing -probably not.

But hope springs eternal for some that this is all just a PR issue - the latest bright idea that support for the war is going to be turned around by an ad campaign would be laughable if the subject was not so tragic.



Exactly Atlanta Dan.

Atlanta Dan
08-26-2007, 05:26 PM
FYI is a lengthy article in today's New York Times Magazine on the divergent opinions in the uniformed military regarding operations in the Iraq-Afghanistan theater.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/magazine/26military-t.html?ref=magazine&pagewanted=print

revefsreleets
08-26-2007, 06:46 PM
I’m clearly not making myself heard here. I could care less “how it was reported”, or how it was pontificated on by the talking heads or the op/ed columnists, or what John Stewart had to say about it. But I care a great deal as to what exactly the thinking was behind it. I’m not getting anything new here from you other than the same stuff anyone can find on CNN.com. I’m sorry if you feel like I’m attacking you (I’m not), but I’m frustrated here. Nobody seems to want to hear anything that doesn’t fit into their already determined position. As for sources “Cobra II”, written by Michael Gordon and General Bernard Trainor is one of the sources behind the “Mission Accomplished” speech and banner as hallmark to Arab Allies and the UN that they were welcome to join the fold. It’s also interesting to note that Bush gave this same speech in Qatar and a few other Arab nations after the war.

Ultimately, “Mission Accomplished” is nothing more than political satirist’s fodder now, anyway, because it was subsequent events after that day that actually resulted in the mess we have now in Iraq. I’m sure we can both agree that event was the disbanding of the Iraqi military, and there is plenty of blame to go around. On May 9th, 2003 General McKiernan and a few of his top officers meet with Faris Naima, a former Iraqi officer and commander of the al-Bakr Military College where Iraq’s officers were trained. Naima was Iraq’s ambassador to Austria when Qusay Hussein ordered him to return to Iraq. Fearing for his life, he stayed abroad, but approached the US about providing assistance after the War.

Naima was a man in the know, and he was prepared to give the US a list of officers they could trust in order to get the Iraqi military involved in post-war security. His idea was to start at the top and work down, and to establish 3 Iraqi divisions in the North, Central and Southern parts of Iraq. The Iraqi military was still loosely banded together, and if the US could pay them, there could be a pretty smooth transition. And these troops were pretty much counted upon in ALL the early post-war planning to hold the country together. McKiernan was impressed and wanted to move forward. Jay Garner was also thinking along the same lines and hired a DC consulting company to start screening Iraqi military officers for post-war security and the like.

Enter the jackass Paul Bremer. Bremer decided that the Iraqi military was too baathist (it wasn’t. Only 8,000 of Iraq’s 140,000 officers and NCO’s were believed to be serious baathists) to keep, so he convinced Rumy to entirely disband the Iraq Army. When Order No. 2, “The Dissolution of Entities” went into effect, Iraq became what we have today. The new replacement force, The New Iraq Corps, or “NIC” was to be a ground up restoring of the Iraq military. There are two interesting footnotes to this. One is that “NIC”, when pronounced in Arabic, sounds a lot like their version of “f*ck”, which provides a great example as to how little we understood the culture of Iraq. We also decided to go ahead and pay many of the Iraqi soldiers who had been disbanded, effectively pissing them off then paying them to join the insurgency.

Finally, the article in the NYT is not the first I’ve seen of this. There is definitely a problem in the US military. I mention General McKiernan all the time because I believe he was almost certainly the best general we had in Iraq, but no one has even heard of him. The man stood his ground (to no avail) and I firmly believe that had McKiernan been listened to, we would have saved billions of dollars and thousands of troops. And you won't ever read that in the NYT.

Atlanta Dan
08-26-2007, 10:59 PM
I’m clearly not making myself heard here. I could care less “how it was reported”, or how it was pontificated on by the talking heads or the op/ed columnists, or what John Stewart had to say about it. But I care a great deal as to what exactly the thinking was behind it. I’m not getting anything new here from you other than the same stuff anyone can find on CNN.com. I’m sorry if you feel like I’m attacking you (I’m not), but I’m frustrated here. Nobody seems to want to hear anything that doesn’t fit into their already determined position. As for sources “Cobra II”, written by Michael Gordon and General Bernard Trainor is one of the sources behind the “Mission Accomplished” speech and banner as hallmark to Arab Allies and the UN that they were welcome to join the fold. It’s also interesting to note that Bush gave this same speech in Qatar and a few other Arab nations after the war.

Ultimately, “Mission Accomplished” is nothing more than political satirist’s fodder now, anyway, because it was subsequent events after that day that actually resulted in the mess we have now in Iraq. I’m sure we can both agree that event was the disbanding of the Iraqi military, and there is plenty of blame to go around. On May 9th, 2003 General McKiernan and a few of his top officers meet with Faris Naima, a former Iraqi officer and commander of the al-Bakr Military College where Iraq’s officers were trained. Naima was Iraq’s ambassador to Austria when Qusay Hussein ordered him to return to Iraq. Fearing for his life, he stayed abroad, but approached the US about providing assistance after the War.

Naima was a man in the know, and he was prepared to give the US a list of officers they could trust in order to get the Iraqi military involved in post-war security. His idea was to start at the top and work down, and to establish 3 Iraqi divisions in the North, Central and Southern parts of Iraq. The Iraqi military was still loosely banded together, and if the US could pay them, there could be a pretty smooth transition. And these troops were pretty much counted upon in ALL the early post-war planning to hold the country together. McKiernan was impressed and wanted to move forward. Jay Garner was also thinking along the same lines and hired a DC consulting company to start screening Iraqi military officers for post-war security and the like.

Enter the jackass Paul Bremer. Bremer decided that the Iraqi military was too baathist (it wasn’t. Only 8,000 of Iraq’s 140,000 officers and NCO’s were believed to be serious baathists) to keep, so he convinced Rumy to entirely disband the Iraq Army. When Order No. 2, “The Dissolution of Entities” went into effect, Iraq became what we have today. The new replacement force, The New Iraq Corps, or “NIC” was to be a ground up restoring of the Iraq military. There are two interesting footnotes to this. One is that “NIC”, when pronounced in Arabic, sounds a lot like their version of “f*ck”, which provides a great example as to how little we understood the culture of Iraq. We also decided to go ahead and pay many of the Iraqi soldiers who had been disbanded, effectively pissing them off then paying them to join the insurgency.

Finally, the article in the NYT is not the first I’ve seen of this. There is definitely a problem in the US military. I mention General McKiernan all the time because I believe he was almost certainly the best general we had in Iraq, but no one has even heard of him. The man stood his ground (to no avail) and I firmly believe that had McKiernan been listened to, we would have saved billions of dollars and thousands of troops. And you won't ever read that in the NYT.

I promise to quit responding to your future posts and will defer to you whether you will quit responding to mine.

Since you are going on my ignore list (only Seahawks and Bengals fans, together with the banned hardwork, have made it until now - congratulations) I assume that any danger of you being bored by my failure to meet your high standards of intellectual discourse can be avoided in the future..

Preacher
08-27-2007, 12:17 AM
C) There was great ground intel in Afghanistan. In fact, it was astoundingly good. That was ultimately why we were so successful. The problem became that the Bush Admin, almost exclusively under the auspices of Rumy, took everything the CIA said about Iraq at face value because of the success we had in Afghan. Problem was, we had no good assets in Iraq, and 25 year old assets in Afghan. The administration took the bad advice that we would be greeted as liberators, and failed to plan for any kind of alternate contingency. There WAS NO good ground intel in Iraq, but the CIA thought differently, and Rumy (i.e. the entire administration) bought into it to the detriment of all.

For some reason...

This assessment has a very strong ring of truth. probably because it is devoid of any political slogans from either the left or the right.

revefsreleets
08-27-2007, 06:26 PM
I promise to quit responding to your future posts and will defer to you whether you will quit responding to mine.

Since you are going on my ignore list (only Seahawks and Bengals fans, together with the banned hardwork, have made it until now - congratulations) I assume that any danger of you being bored by my failure to meet your high standards of intellectual discourse can be avoided in the future..

That's kind of sad. I was only hoping for some creative, original and intelligent discussion on the subject. I'm sorry that you feel it's somehow my fault that you were either unwilling or unable to engage me in debate. I still respect your intelligence and will continue to read your posts with great interest. And it's certainly your prerogative to ignore me.

Anyway, I was heading to a summation, so I'll go ahead and wrap it up.

There has been an awful lot of 20/20 hindsight and selective memory concerning Iraq. Maybe even a little revisionist history. If Rip Van Winkle woke up today after 5 years of sleep, this is pretty much the conclusion he could draw from what the mainstream media is touting:

?Evil George Bush, in order to create interminable military conflict, deliberately misled the entire world so he could start a war for oil. Bush also purposefully sent too few troops in order to create quagmire in Iraq. He doesn?t care about anything but oil profits and is wasting US soldier?s lives because he?s stupid and stubborn and just doesn?t care. The US should immediately pull out all its troops and the Iraqi?s sort it all out for there selves.?

I agree that the Bush administration has made horrible mistakes regarding Iraq, but too much attention has been focused on the errors themselves and not the reasons the errors occurred. I believe the following to be true based upon everything I?ve read:


WMD. The spin is that Bush knew all along that Saddam had no WMD, and he deliberately concocted evidence in order to initiate War. There is only one problem with this theory. At no time did the UN, the US, or any of the major US allies with significant intelligence bodies ever for a second think that Saddam DID NOT have WMDs. It was very widely accepted as stone cold fact that Hussein was in possession of WMDs and was in fact working towards a nuclear program. The CIA was absolutely convinced. The US had several reports from European allies that Saddam had WMDs. This is where some of the Republicans and most of the Democrats show just how disingenuous they really are. There was nearly unanimous consent on both sides of the aisle, and I don?t mean just the rank and file, but the leadership of both parties, that Hussein was an imminent threat that had to be removed. Even Hussein?s most trusted and closest Generals believed that he had WMDs. There was a lie, alright, but it was Saddam?s lie. It was one of the greatest programs of disinformation ever, but was completely necessary for him to continue to keep control of his regime. The most important and glaring error about the WMD doesn?t have anything to do with Bush, but everything to do with the fact that nobody had any reliable intelligence coming out of Iraq.

Insufficient troop levels. So much is made of the Shinseki ?Magic Number? of 380,000, but no one seems to remember that 380,000 was projected as the minimum to overthrow the regime. In fact, half that number of troops was actually required to win the war, and they did it in less than 40 days. The difference was going to be made up by?

The Iraqi Army itself. Every piece of pre-war planning counted upon the Iraqi army being kept on as a peace keeping and security entity. When Paul Bremer and his flunky Walter Slocombe hoodwinked Rumsfield into disbanding the Iraqi Army, the seeds of disaster were planted. The disbanding of the Iraqi Army is one of the greatest blunders ever committed by the United States.

Endgame or near endgame. The giant blunder created a vacuum in Iraq so large you can still hear the sucking sound. The Fedayeen already had a blue print to defeat the US, and the disbanding of the army let them blossom amidst the resulting anarchy. The insurgents knew that ?Black Hawk Down? in Mogadishu was the way to beat the unbeatable. The US has the greatest military in history, but lacks will to take casualties. Clinton made that abundantly clear when he, fearing the political backlash, pulled out all the troops from Somalia after the US suffered 73 wounded and 19 dead. The insurgency in Iraq is fueled by violent hatred of the US, but what really gives it legs is the equation that enough US dead = US withdrawal. That?s what makes Arab allied troops acting under the auspices of the UN so critical now. With UN support, the US can start redeploying and start the process of making Arab Iraq an Arab Iraq. But if we actually withdrawal before that country can stand on it?s own, God help all of us.